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Slovakia seeks EU compensation

SLOVAKIA has experienced reduced Russian natural gas supplies via Ukraine for about one month. While Russian officials cite technicalities as an explanation, the reduced supplies are also perceived as a political message to Slovakia for sending gas back to Ukraine to which Russia cut gas supplies in June after a price dispute. As Slovakia launched the reverse gas flow to Ukraine within measures taken by the EU to help Ukraine, Slovakia is now asking for compensation from Brussels.

SLOVAKIA has experienced reduced Russian natural gas supplies via Ukraine for about one month. While Russian officials cite technicalities as an explanation, the reduced supplies are also perceived as a political message to Slovakia for sending gas back to Ukraine to which Russia cut gas supplies in June after a price dispute. As Slovakia launched the reverse gas flow to Ukraine within measures taken by the EU to help Ukraine, Slovakia is now asking for compensation from Brussels.

“We have fulfilled all the duties within the EU,” Slovak Economy Minister Pavol Pavlis said as cited by the Pravda daily. “Thus we have the right, that in case of compensations, to be first [to receive them].”

Pavlis authorised the ministry’s state secretary Miroslav Obert to discuss compensation for Slovakia over the reduced gas flows from the Russian Federation during talks with European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger in Milan, ministry spokeswoman Miriam Žiaková said on October 6, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

At the meeting with Oettinger on October 5, the state secretary underlined that Slovakia needs guarantees that the EC supports Bratislava and will provide help with potential problems.

According to Žiaková, Oettinger praised Slovakia for its gestures of solidarity towards Ukraine. He also added that financial compensation from Gazprom represents only part of the solution and is not appropriate compensation for the Slovak side.

“Because of this, the EC chair will present an unequivocal stance on this issue at the October’s [session of] the European Council,” she added, as quoted by TASR.

Slovakia’s gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) has reported a 10-50 percent drop in gas supplies and has purchased extra gas on the spot market to cover the daily consumption of its clients as well as fill the gas reservoirs.

For now, no problems with gas supplies have been reported and gas suppliers assure their clients, whether households or companies, that they are prepared to fulfil all their duties towards them.
Slovakia launched a reverse gas flow via the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline on September 2. Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have been shipping gas to Ukraine via the reverse flows to help Ukraine, after Gazprom halted gas supplies over a price dispute while the Slovak-Ukrainian reverse flow has the biggest potential daily capacity, at 27 million cubic metres. The capacity of Slovakia’s reverse flow has been fully booked through 2019.

Slovakia continues to supply gas to Ukraine.

Slovak diplomacy assured Ukrainian partners that Slovakia would keep its obligations related to reverse gas flow to Ukraine. Peter Burian, state secretary at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said this during his visit to Ukraine, the SITA newswire reported on October 8.

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